Written by Cheryl Behrent
This month’s story is about Amare’s journey to the U.S. As Sarah’s community residents often do, Amare borrowed money from anyone she knew (in her case, even people in other countries) and got her visa to come to the U.S. Amare came directly to Minnesota because she has a relative here.
Amare’s journey to the U.S. felt really dangerous because she was all alone and didn’t know what was going to happen each step of the way.
Additionally, she did not know what the people were like that she was going to stay with. What would happen after she would have to leave their home (they were clear about a short stay) weighed heavily on her. She had no plan for what she was going to do next. As a planning and responsible person, not being able to know the details was really scary. All Amare could think was that at least she was safely away from her home country. If she had stayed, she would have been in certain peril.
When Amare first came to the U.S. she could not get a work permit so she was delayed paying back the borrowed funds. Every month Amare has to assure the people that loaned her money that she is still trying to find a job. Finally, a year after her arrival, she did get approved for a work permit. Just before COVID started, just over a year after she came to Sarah’s, Amare found a job. With COVID she has had fewer hours and less pay. She is barely able to cover her own expenses let alone pay back the loans. The constant stress of being in debt to people who are not patient with her adds to the stress of COVID which has been stressful enough. The isolation it requires gives too much space and time to her memories of why she had to leave her home country. Amare continues to hold tenuously onto the hope of retaining her job while other people are being laid off.